CIVILIAN CONTRACTORS: Lets Talk Individual Skills- It’s the Fundamentals Stupid


Reinforcing your team members Individual skills like basic rifle marksmanship is an essential duty for all effective Team leaders

Team Leaders - Are your guy’s amateurs or professionals? The devil is in the details of your potential performance to meet your mission goals.

Operators – Do you know what’s expected of you? Do the other members of your team take the job seriously?

Team performance is a serious matter and performance is directly related to the individual capabilities of each member on your team. As a Team Leader (TL), you will want to be in a constant mode of assessing the individual skills of the men that populate your team.

If you are not taking stock in individual performances and you let your team be mired in complacency, then you can expect your battle space performance as a whole to reflect the same poor outlook.



The first place to start in your assessment as a TL or an Operator is individual skills. Fundamentals are the building blocks of a superior war fighter and thus, a superior team. If as operators you come up short in the Red Zone due to the slack vision of the TL to train, rehearse, maintain, and update individual skills, you WILL see serious blood spilled and not pockets filled with treasure in the end. TLs take note of this.

If each operator hones and appropriately maintains his individual skills, he will display the necessary acumen and support the team’s goals in the field, manage his battle space as needed, and commit to the fight confidently when called for.

TL’s must foster the team’s efficiency level by making sure every operator has a chance to review his skill sets regularly to stamp out inconsistencies and inefficiencies under the expert eye of his superiors and with the positive feedback of his teammates as well.

Operators must commit themselves to the rigors of training to become efficient in practice and perform under stress. If you slack off, you are letting the man down to your left and right.

Here’s a short list of individual skill sets that should be given regular review by each member of a Protective Security Detail or Combat Convoy Escort Team:

  • Primary rifle and pistol marksmanship
  • Deployment and effective use of crew served weapons
  • Magazine change and malfunction clearance drills
  • Medical - First Aid and Combat Life Saver skills
  • Integrated knowledge and use of communications equipment
  • Convoy, motorcade, off-road, and emergency driving skills
  • Rehearsal of immediate action drills and the roles and responsibilities of each team member
  • Getting off the ‘X’; maneuver and individual use of cover and concealment

This list is nowhere near complete, but gives the TL an anchor as to where to start individual assessments, reviews, training, re-training, drills, and rehearsals. Operators, have you covered these topics in your course work? If not, get to it.

Individual skills are the bedrock on which a team of professionals is built. There are no advanced techniques to master, no ‘secrets’ to be discovered just the plain hard truths found in the rehearsal and review of the fundamentals. You WILL fight as you have trained.

The TL must insure that each member of his team starts with relevant knowledge and skills to accomplish the mission, and then sets out to tune his team into the appropriate instrument to be fielded in the Red Zone.

It’s been said before, but I am going to say it again – there are no “advanced” gunfights just operators who apply the fundamentals well. Here are a few suggestions to keep TLs and teams on the right track:

  • TLs – TAKE the time to put a lesson plan or two together when you’ve got some down time. I can’t emphasize this enough. YOU need to set the bench mark, instill the qualities and skills you desire to see fielded by your men, and take the bull ny the horns and lead, lead, lead…
  • Operators – Performing in the Red Zone is no shit affair. Master your war fighting skills, save lives, and TRAIN seriously.
  • TL’s fight for the time and resources to train your men right. Training isn’t a ‘cram’ session before a high school test. Educate your command if you have to about the liabilities of fielding a team of amateurs and the impact the result of this can have.
  • In the end, it’s up to you as a collective. Get your shit straight before combat or pay the price.


~Bubba G Editor at Large


Bubba G. is an active protective professional presently performing contract duties in the Middle East and has well over 15 years of military, high risk contracting, international training and martial arts experience.